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Posts Tagged ‘Die MSM, Die

Hollywood – another bubble world

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It’s not just the MSM who are living in a bubble, as described in yesterday’s post.

No, it’s also Hollywood and it’s really now right up in the faces of Disney executives in the wake of the huge flop that Disney/Pixar’s latest animated movie, Lightyear, has been.

It has earned just over $50 million in its opening domestic weekend when $100 million+ was expected, with an eventual year-long global target being a billion dollars, like Top Gun: Maverick. Instead, as the article points out, it may actually only make $300 million, meaning it will lose as much as it makes.

I’m past the age when I’d take kids to see movies, but Pixar holds a special place in my heart because of all their Golden Age stuff from 1995 to about 2015. I’d heard something about a “lesbian kiss”, which sounded like a big nothing – and is. But the real story is as follows:

The movie’s narrative revolves around the lesbian couple who become pregnant and have a family — to the point that Buzz Lightyear becomes the villain for attempting to complete the [time travel] mission and thereby (somehow) remove the situation in which the couple could come together. Parents were already going to be thrown for a loop when they needed to explain how two mommies can make a baby, the kiss was just Pixar’s coup maximus.

Can I also just say that I find it exceedingly funny that they released a movie that centers around a lesbian couple – and the bad guy is a man who might accidentally erase their relationship… on Father’s Day Weekend.

Geniuses: IN-YOUR-FACE geniuses, because I’m sure that was not a mistake but entirely intentional. A whole storyline that paints Buzz Lightyear as the Evil White Guy trying to break up the cool, interracial lesbian couple! Wow, that’s a twist on the old time-paradox-can-I-correct-past-mistakes concept. It’s a wonder that Pixar didn’t give him an Alabama accent just to underline the message. As that article further points out:

And the only reason they didn’t see this coming is because they’re in such a bubble with who they talk to and where they live that they didn’t even know about the thesis we’ve been presenting here at That Park Place for months. They would have rejected it if they had known, but that they didn’t is enough to show you how insular their lives are.

The cleanup for Disney will be hard. The company is overtaken with a California culture that is wholly separate and distinct from the rest of the country and even most of the western world. What do you do when your studio is filled with people who don’t know how to avoid their core beliefs because their core beliefs are at odds with most of the world?

No company, not even one as big and powerful as Disney, can take successive losses on this scale. Starting with their CEO they’re going to have to crack down on this crap out of sheer financial need. But as noted above, that’s going to be easier said than done given how embedded this all is across both Disney and Pixar.

Disney has lost 8 of it’s top animation directors since Jennifer Lee was made head creative executive there a few years back. She can’t tell a story to save her life, and doesn’t have a creative bone in her body.

Sounds like Kathleen Kennedy’s destruction of the Star Wars franchise. Already there’s another Pixar movie in the pipeline (meaning almost finished), Strange Worlds, that has, as its centerpiece … a romance between two teenage boys.

Yeah. That’ll pack them in.

Even if, by some miracle, they produce a kids animated movie that doesn’t try to pull the same stunts, what parents who refused to take their kids to see Lightyear, are going to trust Disney/Pixar again? The only promotion that might work would be word-of-mouth because nobody will trust the advertising and marketing of carefully edited trailers.

Every entertainment company can produce stinkers of plays, musicals, TV series and films and still survive. But what Disney/Pixar are doing here is stinking up their brands. Business history is littered with examples of outfits that tarnished a brand and could not recover it. Disney is not quite there yet, given their revenue power across multiple entertainment streams, but they’re a lot closer than I ever thought they’d be.

Bubble World

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Social Media users are often accused of living in a bubble; hanging around in safe spaces where they won’t hear many, or perhaps any, contrary opinions.

Predictably enough these accusations are hurled between the bubbles; think Kiwiblog commentators vs The Standard commentators.

But if there’s one group that loves sticking to all of these social media sites the whole “a plague on both your houses”, it’s the old media, the MSM, the Legacy Media. They claim that they’re far more aware of the wider world and all the news that’s fit to print. They’re journalists, so of course this is how it must be, otherwise they would not be able to do their jobs, correct?

The consumers of what these “journalists” produce increasingly beg to differ, as shown by the huge drops in subscriptions, buys and readership by all branches of the MSM. But even in the face of such financial reality those criticisms are still dismissed by the MSM as just another byproduct of the social media bubbles that their readers are falling into.

Maybe, but that growing gap between how the public views “journalists” and how they view themselves should be a wake up call for the latter. Luckily it won’t be.

Note that MSM ideological or partisan bias was not the question there, but a straight-forward set of questions relating to the traditional roles of journalists and how well they’re performing them.

Meanwhile Twitter is the poster child for Social Media bubbles, reinforced by bannings and suspensions that have no standard beyond the one that says a Tweet offended whatever the Left hold to be true at any given moment. When you consider how many “journalists” monitor Twitter you begin to see why the graph below might be a factor feeding into the graph above. To date only one outfit, the NYT, has been willing to even try (and only try) to get its reporters to “Tweet less… Report more”.

There’s also this poll from Rasmussen:

Written by Tom Hunter

June 26, 2022 at 3:00 pm

Posted in MSM, USA

Tagged with ,

Who will rid me of this troublesome Justice?

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I’ve finally found a real US domestic terrorist threat that Biden’s poolboy, Merrick Garland, and his fabulous FBI and DOJ, could look into.

But this is a domestic terrorist group associated with the US Left and the Democrat Party so naturally there’s no interest.

When I say no interest I mean the MSM as well..

As always.

You think that these are merely “protests”? No, the “Ruth Sent Us” group also include juicy information like the above stuff about Barrett, just in case someone as passionate as Nick Roske decides to take sterner measures and needs to know exactly where to go (wink, wink)

However, there’s a new group on the scene and even their name is more explicit, “Jane’s Revenge”

Radical abortion activists who firebombed the office of a pro-life groups in Wisconsin and Oregon and who have vandalized over a dozen churches and pregnancy centers have struck again.

Early this morning police and fire departments in Buffalo, New York responded to smoke and fire at CompassCare, a pro-life medical office and pregnancy center that helps women and children. The building was firebombed and the windows in the reception room and nurses’ office were broken and fires lit.

Graffiti on the building left by the arsonists refers to the abortion terrorist group Jane’s Revenge reading, “Jane Was Here.” The group took responsibility for a firebombing of a pro-life organization in Madison, Wisconsin in May, and it could have been responsible for bombing the offices of Oregon Right to Life during the same month. It has also vandalized and destroyed multiple churches and pregnancy centers.

Actually we’re up to fifty nine such attacks as of this writing and Jane’s Revenge has made it clear that there will be more by sending out a announcement, which is as clear as Osama Bin Laden’s was in 1998:

You have seen that we are real, and that we are not merely pushing empty words. As we said: we are not one group but many. You have seen us in Madison WI, Ft. Collins CO, Reisertown MA, Olympia WA, Des Moines IA, Lynwood WA, Washington DC, Ashville NC, Buffalo NY, Hollywood FL, Vancouver WA, Frederick MA, Denton TX, Gresham OR, Eugene OR, Portland OR, among others, and we work in countless locations invisibly. You’ve read the communiqués from the various cells, you’ve seen the proliferating messages in graffiti and elsewhere, and you know that we are serious

Your thirty days expired yesterday. We offered an honourable way out. You could have walked away. Now the leash is off. And we will make it as hard as possible for your campaign of oppression to continue. We have demonstrated in the past month how easy and fun it is to attack. We are versatile, we are mercurial, and we answer to no one but ourselves. We promised to take increasingly drastic measures against oppressive infrastructures. Rest assured that we will, and those measures may not come in the form of something so easily cleaned up as fire and graffiti.

In other words, it’s a terrorist communique.

I do have to wonder why the SCOTUS Chief Justice Roberts has not simply issued the decision. Is he actually hoping that all this pressure will change one Conservative vote, even if only for the base reason of “not wanting violence”?

Meantime the President has finally spoken up…

“Violence and destruction of property have no place in our country under any circumstances, and the President denounces this,” White House Assistant Press Secretary Alexandra LaManna told The Daily Wire. “We should all agree that actions like this are completely unacceptable regardless of our politics,” she added.

Wow! The Assistant Press Secretary, someone you’ve never heard of, issuing a statement… via email and emphatically not on camera, so that they’ll be no actual evidence that the White House condemned one its few remaining Mid-Term Election Friends, as far as the Video-Is-King media is concerned.

You can tell they’re really serious about this.

I’m just waiting for the big FBI takedown where half of Jane’s Revenge will turn out to be FBI undercover operatives, like the collapsed case of the Great Kidnap Governor Whitmer Plot.

GOP Tsunamis and Democrat Islands

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It’s taken longer than I expected but the reality of President Biden’s uselessness is finally catching up with him.

The only surprise I have is that so many Democrats are surprised by this.

For almost a year now, every poll has seen increasingly worse numbers for Biden. The trigger was the Afghanistan debacle, no matter how the MSM and his many sycophants around the world tried to spin it.

Since then nothing has gone right for him. But saying that makes it sound simply like a hapless, hopeless President has been overwhelmed by events beyond his control, and while it’s true that this low-IQ, senile, husk of a human being is incapable of dealing with problems that land on his desk, many of those problems stem directly from the idiocies of “his” policies. Actually they’re the policies of the Nancy Pelosi Democrat Party and his Obama-retread staff, policies that he regularly fumbles while reading off a large-print teleprompter in the fake Oval Office set created for him. (BTW, for a laugh, check out Reuters early 2021″fact check” of why there is no fake Oval Office).

He’s underwater on almost all issues.

He’s underwater in almost all states:

There are only three states where Biden’s approval is above water:

* Hawaii: 50 percent approval, 40 percent disapproval
* Massachusetts: 45 percent approval, 42 percent disapproval
* Vermont: 46 percent approval, 38 percent disapproval

His “base” is abandoning him:

In new polling provided exclusively to Secrets, he is losing support among younger voters, suburbanites, women, minorities (especially Hispanics), and union members.

To be fair he never really had a “base” as someone like Trump or Bernie Sanders does, and that showed in two successive failures in Presidential runs in 1988 and 2008, with the same pattern in 2020 until James Clyburn rescued him in the South Carolina primary. His “base” was simply people who hated Trump: they had no loyalty to Biden,.

Inflation via gas and food prices is bad enough, but when you see particular food items like infant formula you understand how all the spin in the world cannot counter people’s direct experience. This is not “inflation” in the monetary sense but supply chain problems, ones that Biden and his staff missed for months. It didn’t help when his staff did a video-op of Biden with CEO’s of companies making infant formula where they bluntly said that they’d known about the approaching crisis for months – followed by this from Biden:

This sort of cluelessness is dragging down the entire Democrat Party heading into the Mid-Terms, where a large loss is already baked into the cake, and it could get worse. As a result Democrat insiders are getting frustrated with Biden:

“It’s really simple: ‘Be the f—ing president!,” said one Democratic strategist frustrated by the administration. “I realize it’s tough and you’re drinking out of a fire hose every single day, but there are things you can do to control the public perception and they haven’t done any of that.”…

Here’s a hint pal, it’s because they’re utterly incompetent in everything they do and also because spin can only go so far in twisting reality. The frustration has turned into finger-pointing inside the White House with the Pre-criminations beginning:

Faced with a worsening political predicament, President Joe Biden is pressing aides for a more compelling message and a sharper strategy while bristling at how they’ve tried to stifle the plain-speaking persona that has long been one of his most potent assets.

Biden is rattled by his sinking approval ratings and is looking to regain voters’ confidence that he can provide the sure-handed leadership he promised during the campaign, people close to the president say.

Amid a rolling series of calamities, Biden’s feeling lately is that he just can’t catch a break. “Biden is frustrated. If it’s not one thing, it’s another,” said a person close to the president.

It’s called being the President, idiot! That link is to one of his MSM tongue-bathers, NBC, which alone tells you how bad this is. Even so their ingrained Democrat/Left bias produces comedy gold

An assumption baked into Biden’s candidacy was that he would preside over a smoothly running administration by dint of his decades of experience in public office.

Yet there are signs of managerial breakdowns that have angered both him and his party.

😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

A lot of us didn’t assume that! The people who did were the increasingly poorly-specified Smartest Guys in Any Room.

“He’s now lower than Trump, and he’s really twisted about it,” another person close to the White House said.

😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

He’s said that “I don’t look at the polls — no joke”, which turns out to be more BS. I won’t say “lie” because you need an active brain to know you’re lying. He believes everything he says in the moment and is thus angry at staff who correct him.

Beyond policy, Biden is unhappy about a pattern that has developed inside the West Wing. He makes a clear and succinct statement — only to have aides rush to explain that he actually meant something else. The so-called clean-up campaign, he has told advisers, undermines him and smothers the authenticity that fueled his rise. Worse, it feeds a Republican talking point that he’s not fully in command.

Ah yes, the ever-present “Republican Talking Point”, otherwise known as the “Republicans Pounce” meme.

LOL. That bit almost makes it look like he’s just a feeble puppet and that policy decisions are being made behind the scenes by staff that no one voted for, and when this senile figurehead breaks with their bureaucratic consensus, they veto him.

Asked about the staff’s practice of clarifying Biden’s remarks, the official said: “We don’t say anything that the president doesn’t want us to say.”

“We never overrule the President”

At the White House Easter Egg Roll the Easter Bunny begged to differ!

Standard practice actually. After Biden announced that Putin must not be allowed to remain power, Jen Psaki and others rushed out to reassure the Washington Blob that Biden hadn’t meant that. But then Biden went out to the microphones again to say he wasn’t walking anything back, and had in fact meant the thing he’d first said. I’m surprised he didn’t push the Easter Bunny over so he could keep talking, but that would have upset the children.

What all this actually means is that the Cottonhead Puppet’s handlers are directing things from behind the scenes – except the puppet occasionally manages to put his pudding aside and stand in front of TV cameras to announce some dramatic shifts in US policy because he thinks that sounding like a tough guy will juice his polling.

It’s no surprise to find out that Biden staffers are leaving in droves, with special emphasis on the comms staff, another indication that these people think that this is all a messaging problem.

In the wake of that NBC piece a Biden staffer attacked NBC “News” as actually a right-wing operation doing a hit on Biden. Yes! Really! His proof was that their official denial, claiming that the staff never issues statements without Biden’s approval, only ran in paragraph 28 – while the stuff that was said off-the-record about Biden being Spongebrain Angry Pants was featured much more prominently.

That staffer will find it much harder to tag the NYT as such, with their “Democratic whispers” story

In interviews, dozens of frustrated Democratic officials, members of Congress and voters expressed doubts about the president’s ability to rescue his reeling party and take the fight to Republicans.

Doubts? No! Really?

Written by Tom Hunter

June 15, 2022 at 6:00 am

The Pentagram Loop of Economic Doom

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What’s in everybody’s face, especially in America, is inflation, but there’s far more than that going on in their economy, and basically the global economy.

And none of it’s good.

But let’s look at inflation first, in particular the stuff that chews into your wallet every day rather than the somewhat tame measure of CPI.

Gasoline for cars is, for Americans, the most in-your-face aspect of this; for historical and psychological reasons it seems to grind them more than food prices. Of course the joke is that in 2008 Democrat suckhole media like the LA Times was boasting about “The joy of $8 gas.

You’d think the Democrats would therefore be happier right now.

Companies are trying to trick people as they did back in the 1970’s by shrinking the size of the products they sell “for the same price”. I don’t think it works.

The official CPI for May surged to 8.6%, but if it was being calculated as it was in 1980 it would be 17% (see the graph above). Moreover the month-on-month inflation is not stopping but itself increasing; in other words inflation is not going away any time soon. Good to see that one of Biden’s numerous idiot hires, Treasury Secretary Yanet Yellen, is now publicly regretting saying that inflation in 2021 was “transitory”. Of course she’s not alone as the US MSM have desperately tried to prop up Biden and the Democrats on this issue for a year now.

On top of all this is the fact that wage growth is rapidly slowing, which means that wages are actually going backwards, the highest negative since 2006 actually.

Add in the problems of the stock market – which is also shrinking American’s wealth, starting with pension funds, plus a possible crash in the housing market – and you’re looking at big economic problems across the board. This has business people starting to also get on edge:

Why is there so much doom and gloom though? Recessions happen regularly and we’ve seen inflation and even stagflation before and survived them. There are two answers to this question.

First, what’s different this time is the number of major factors coming together, each of which has caused recessions in the past on their own:

  1. The business cycle.
  2. High energy prices.
  3. Inflationary pressures other than energy (supply chain problems plus $6 trillion of unneeded US government spending in the last two years)
  4. Excessive debt-funded speculation.
  5. Secular shifts in the economy.

That last one needs explanation:

Examples include: new global competition (1970s); currency devaluations; costs of cleaning up decades of pollution (1970s); financialization (1980s to the present), geopolitical shifts in alliances, social disorder, demographics (aging of the workforce, mass retirement) and sea changes in the distribution of income and power to labor and capital.

It’s a perfect storm and it’s built on the back of two decades of poor economic policies.

Second, the normal paths of getting out of factors 1 and 3 – high interest rates to crush inflation and massive Keynesian-style state spending – are now hemmed in by the massive amounts of debt the US has created in the last twenty years, both public and private. In fact it’s increasingly hard to tell the difference between the two, so dependent upon cheap created credit from the Federal Reserve have the markets – especially Wall Street and the housing market – become.

The higher interest rates will slow the economy and cause unemployment. It will also swallow up tax revenue as the government has to pay interest on its massive debt. But more critically, it will increase the rate of default on home mortgages. Those defaults will make mortgage-backed securities less valuable and more unpredictable. That’s how the 2008 housing market seized up. 

In 2008 the US housing crisis was solved by having the Federal Government and the Federal Reserve buy trillions of dollars of mortgages and Mortgage Backed Securities that had become nearly worthless. But having re-created that situation what are they going to do now (factor 4)?

The energy crisis is also not going away because high fossil fuel prices are seen as the way to “transition” the economy to the world of renewable energy. If that’s your goal then it’s a logical play – but it will kill consumers (in some cases literally), kill the politicians intent on crashing through the wall of such massive energy change – and that’s assuming it’s even possible, which it isn’t (42 Inconvenient Truths on the “New Energy Economy”) and possibly kill the economy.

Two years ago I playfully predicted The Great Crash of 2034, but allowed that it might come later – or sooner.

Brace for impact.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 13, 2022 at 7:41 pm

The Iran-Israel Cold War

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There are a lot of people in the West who feel that since Israel is a nuclear power it’s not really under much of a threat. That’s true only in the sense that none of the other nuclear powers have ever expressed any desire to destroy Israel and that people also believe that Israel would not use nuclear weapons even if she was losing a conventional war. I’m not so sure about that, given NATO’s stance during the Cold War and the recent sabre-rattling by Putin over the Ukraine War.

In military intelligence a threat is assessed not on the basis of what an enemy might do – since motivations and the desire to act on them is very difficult to predict – but what they could do, of which analysis is based on the more solid ground of counting weapon systems and assessing their lethality.

Mind you, it pays not to forget the motivations, right Adeel?

He was a CNN contributor from Pakistan, with some 50 CNN articles to his name over the years, even as he unloaded other Jew-hating stuff on Twitter. In this respect he was not much different to the Hamas Covenant of 1988:

Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah’s victory is realised.

There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. 

It almost goes without saying that Iran backs Hamas.

Raja is hardly alone in the MSM, although most of the anti-Israeli stuff steers carefully away from such obviously self-discrediting statements. The starting point for recent MSM coverage of Israel was undoubtedly the death of Muhammad al Durah at Netzarim Junction on Sept. 30, 2000, which small video/photo propaganda effort turned into something much larger and horrific:

It became an instant global sensation, enraging the Muslim world and provoking angry protests where Western progressives and militant Muslims joined to equate Israel to the Nazis. Ironically, for the first time since the Holocaust, “Death to Jews” was heard in the capitals of Europe. From that point on, for many, Israel was to blame for all violence, a pariah state.

Even had the child died in a crossfire, blaming his death on deliberate Israeli action made it a classic blood libel: A gentile boy dies; the Jews are accused of plotting the murder; violent mobs, invoking the dead martyr, attack the Jews. In Europe, the attacks the al Durah libel incited were mostly on Jewish property. In the Middle East, a new round of suicide bombers, “revenging the blood of Muhammad al Durah” targeted Israeli children to the approval of 80% of the Palestinian public. It was, in fact, the first postmodern blood libel. The first blood libel announced by a Jew ([France 2’s reporter,] Enderlin), spread by the modern mainstream news media (MSNM), and carried in cyberspace to a global audience. It was the first wildly successful piece of “fake news” of the 21st century, and, as an icon of hatred, it did untold damage.

At the link you can read how, over three years, the lie was dismantled – but all too late, and in any case these lies apparently served “a higher truth”, an excuse used not just by Palestinian journalists but increasingly Western ones, which brought forth this article in The Atlantic, What the Media Gets Wrong About Israel:

The Western press has become less an observer of this conflict than an actor in it, a role with consequences for the millions of people trying to comprehend current events, including policymakers who depend on journalistic accounts to understand a region where they consistently seek, and fail, to productively intervene.

So the motivations to hurt, damage or even destroy Israel are present in great breadth and depth (and the MSM is a vital accomplice to that), although the means to do so are limited.

But there is one nation that could change the equation and are bent upon doing so – Iran. They desire to build a nuclear weapon, and have got closer to doing so every single day now for twenty years.

As a result there has increasingly existed a Cold War in miniature between the two Middle Eastern nations, and the actions taken are very similar in their “unattributed” nature, although far more shockingly direct than anything the USA and USSR pulled on each other in the original series. While Israel has had espionage triumphs, like the lifting of tons of documents Irans nuclear weapon programme from a warehouse in the capital city Tehran – which proved Iran had told many lies about the programme – there have been increasing numbers of direct actions.

ASSASSINATIONS

Multiple Iranian officials have been assassinated over the years, including a number of scientists in their nuclear programme, and while the Iranians have not been slow to blame Israel the latter have never directly acknowledged responsibility, responding only with “leaks” to reporters some time after the hit. The standard attack method is with guys on motorbikes, as was the case with the killing of Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, Al Qaeda’s second-highest leader, in Iran in August of 2020. More recently the killing of Hassan Sayad Khodayari, a senior member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard outside his home in Tehran.

Iranian Billboard celebrating Fakhrizadeh’s “martyrdom”

Probably the most significant was the death in 2020 of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, long considered to be the top man in Iran’s nuclear program. Israel had tried killing him before but failed, which was why he had a lot of security. But even being surrounded by body guards is no guarantee. Initial reports were the usual fog-of-war stuff, with tales of an IED car explosion to stop his convoy and then 12 gunmen on motorbikes and a car surrounding him, with the kill shot delivered to the head by somebody hauling him out of the car to do it.

The truth was more prosaic and yet more incredible: he was killed by a remote-controlled robot machine gun:

[The weapon] was a Belgian-made FN MAG machine gun attached to an advanced robotic apparatus, according to an intelligence official familiar with the plot. The official said the system was not unlike the off-the-rack Sentinel 20 manufactured by the Spanish defense contractor Escribano.

The Israelis … wanted to control the weapon from, as the Times puts it, an “undisclosed location more than 1,000 miles away.” Read: from Israel.

A weapon like that is going to be able to penetrate normal car windscreens and even armoured glass without the bullets bouncing off. Only 15 machine gun bullets were needed to kill Fakhrizadeh, in a moving vehicle, without harming those around him, including his wife sitting in the passenger seat.

The weapon was mounted on the deck of a ute parked on the side of the road, which in true Mission Impossible fashion promptly blew itself up to destroy all the key evidence.

MILITARY ATTACKS

These are somewhat more serious, like “casus belli” serious. Given the control of such weapons it’s not surprising that Israel has launched drone attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities:

A military strike that utilized quadcopter drones launched from inside Iran hit the top-secret Iranian military base at Parchin. It’s believed the strike targeted Iran’s drone research and development complex and not its missile or nuclear research facilities.

Last June, another quadcopter drone hit the centrifuge manufacturing facility that was making advanced centrifuges to spin up nuclear fuel.

Plus drone-on-drone action:

Israel has been busy trying to disrupt Iranian development of sophisticated drone technology. In February, drones attacked a drone facility in the city of Kermanshah. It was Iran’s main manufacturing and storage plant for military drones, according to U.S. intelligence.

The drone attack on Wednesday was launched from inside Iran, not far from the Parchin military base, according to the Iranian sources with knowledge of the attack. Quadcopter drones have a short flight range, and Parchin is a long way from Iran’s borders.

This would not be the first time that Israel had used operatives inside Iran to carry out attacks.

That last is what must be really screwing with the minds of the Mullahs and all their henchmen in the military and security forces. That Israel, time and time again, launches these operations deep inside Iran, a clear indication of just how far they have penetrated into Iranian systems, riddling them with double agents, spies and so forth. As a result there have been attacks that were launched by humans:

On Easter Sunday [2021], a massive explosion ripped through the top-secret Iranian nuclear weapons research facility at Natanz. There were some interesting aspects to the explosion. In a way, this was deja vu because, in July 2020, the same facility was hit by a cyberattack that damaged the centrifuge production plant inside the Natanz facility.

The Iranian official stressed that such an operation takes years, saying “the design of the enemy was very beautiful.”

Well that’s certainly a very Iranian way of describing it. Israel repeated the dose with another drone attack on June 23, 2021 and satellite images certainly showed a lot of damage:

Today’s incident follows a string of unexplained fires and explosions striking Tehran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program since the Biden administration intensified efforts to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal.

No! Really? As this 2021 article points out, all these mysterious explosions show that Mossad Neither Slumbers Nor Sleeps:

A large fire was reported at the Kangan Petro Refining Co. (KPRC) in southern Iran along the coast of the Persian Gulf on Monday, just a day after an explosion reportedly impacted a drone factory in the center of the country.

And on May 26, Iranian state media reported on still a third explosion, this one at an oxygen pipeline in a petrochemical plant in Assaluyeh on Iran’s Gulf coast. There was no mention of its cause.

This Twitter thread by one Matthew Brodsky (from some Washington D.C. “think tank) gives an excellent background going back to the days of Obama negotiating the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action) to try and restrict Iran’s nuclear weapons development – and getting pissed off with the Israelis, who clearly did not have any faith in the process and decided to keep taking action.

And now that guy is president, and he’s trying to re-create the JCPOA. But times have changed:

It’s quite likely Israel is already incorporating the idea that Team Biden will leak & acting accordingly. 2021 isn’t 2012-15. Israel may now be broadcasting messages along with its actions that it used to keep secret.

Not only that:

  • The Iranians have been far more intransigent in their demands, to the point where it’s becoming clear even to saps like Secretary of State Blinken.
  • Biden is not Obama, so his policies can be directly challenged without being labeled a racist.
  • President Trump has reordered the Middle East’s strategic landscape, creating an Arab-Israel security partnership to confront Iran, which mean Israel has Arab allies.

The time that Obama, Biden and others thought they were buying in 2015 with the JCPOA was always an illusion. Iran always wanted an atomic bomb; just one of the tells was their ongoing ballistic missile program, which in the age of cruise missiles, JDAM warheads and drones is obsolete for delivering conventional explosives accurately – but still fine for a nuclear warhead. This 2021 article makes a comparison about the strategic implications of always trying to buy time:

The sad truth is that had Chamberlain been willing to fight Hitler right then, World War II could have been avoided since the German High Command was ready to overthrow Hitler. The time supposedly “bought” by Chamberlain’s weakness at Munich came at the cost of 60 million lives, the devastation of Europe and Asia, and the Holocaust.

The two cases are not quite similar, except for this one central lesson. Once the wish to gain time drives a willingness to accept the demands of a ruthless, totalitarian regime hell-bent on subversion and destruction, the tragic consequences are inevitable. It is this insight that should be imparted to friends in American politics and diplomacy.

The Israeli military and spies have also bought them much time. However, just the other day, as Iran demolished dozens of International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) cameras at their nuclear sites, rendering the IAEA “blind”, came this analysis:

“Due to the growth of Iran’s 60% enriched uranium stocks, Iran has crossed a dangerous new threshold: its breakout timeline is now at zero,” the scientists say. 

Time is up on this Cold War.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 12, 2022 at 8:00 am

Aborted Assassinations

with 3 comments

The results of a US survey were released the other day in which a rather unusual question was asked:

“Do you approve or disapprove of assassinating a politician who is harming the country or our democracy?”

Well, the answer is obvious surely? No!

Holy shit! Nearly half of Democrat men under the age of 50 (44 %) approved, as did 34% of younger Republican men, 40% of Republican woman, and 32% of Democrat woman. Look at the generation gap also!

And so we come to this. A man, Nicholas Roske, was arrested the other day when he turned up at the home of Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh, equipped with a pistol, ammo, various bits of tactical gear, and openly calling the cops to tell them he was going to kill the Justice because of the anticipated US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) abortion decision. They’d already spotted him getting out of a taxi beside Kavanaugh’s home and looking damned suspicious to the Marshalls guarding the home so his call was moot.

Since last year I’d planned to do a post on the decision from the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) on abortion, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, expecting its release in June/July 2022. The most important such case in decades, with a majority of Originalist or Textualist judges on the Supreme bench, there was a distinct possibility that the fifty year old standard, Roe v Wade, and even the more recent confirmation of that decision, the 1992 case of Planned Parenthood vs Casey, would be overturned and the issue returned to the legislators of the fifty US states to decide. But I’m not going to address the actual decision until it’s confirmed.

However, that process was disrupted a month ago when persons unknown within SCOTUS leaked to the MSM a draft of the conservative opinion and argument. As expected it over-turns Roe and other similar cases and since it was written by Justice Alito it seems certain that it represents the majority. Nothing has since appeared to contradict that, although it’s still possible that it may be merely the dissent.

The leak itself was an unprecedented move that shocked the legal community because it struck directly at the heart of the Court’s ability to debate and decide constitutional issues free from immediate political pressures. It also struck at the heart of the trust required between the Justices themselves for those debates and arguments to occur in a dispassionate and calm way.

This was quite deliberate. Obviously a Court member, likely a clerk for one of the three Liberal Justices, possibly one of those three Justices themselves, had seen the decision and decided that public pressure might change it by convincing one of the conservative Justices to cave. Damage to the court be damned.

But of course they had outside help, in the form of the good old MSM, as Stromata points out in The Unsung Villians of the Supreme Court Leak:

Chief Justice Roberts has ordered the Court’s marshal to investigate the leak. Whether the culprit will be found seems dubious, but there are three guilty parties who can be identified and who, although they almost certainly cannot be prosecuted, can be shunned by all polite company. They are Politico and the two writers whose names appear on the story proclaiming the leak: Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward.

Neither the web publisher nor its employees innocently picked up the draft opinion from off the street. They knew that it was stolen. They knew that no Supreme Court opinion has ever, in the history of the United States of America, been released without the Court’s authorization, no matter how important or controversial its subject. They knew that, in the normal course of its activity, the Court would have published its decision within the next two months. They knew that the Justices often continue considering and refining opinions until shortly before they are announced. They knew that the Court’s effectiveness has for over two centuries depended crucially on trust among the Justices and their staff.

They knew and didn’t care. For the frisson of a “big story”, and almost certainly with the hope of assisting the Democratic Party, they peddled their ill-gotten goods and inflicted serious harm on our nation’s highest judicial body. Honorable men would have written a story beginning, “Today, a person connected to the Supreme Court attempted to give Politico confidential Court documents concerning an upcoming decision. Politico has returned the documents unread to the Court chambers and advised the Justices of the identity of the miscreant.”

One of the benefits of an unfettered press is that scoundrels eventually identify themselves. Remember their names and cover them with maledictions: Politico, Gerstein, Ward.

The pro-abortion movement certainly treated the leak as both real and decisive and immediately cranked up the protests, aided by a Democrat Party that’s desperate to avoid an electoral disaster in this year’s Mid-Term elections in November. One group, Ruth Sent Us, went further, doxxing the locations of the conservative Justices and organising protests outside them. They tried to weasel out of being responsible by saying they hadn’t actually put up the addresses, but in their videos they made no effort to hide the house numbers. It was from this list that Roske got his targeting information.

Amidst all of this you had senior Democrats like VP Kamala Harris saying they would have “fight” with “everything we have”. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wasn’t much better as she specifically called on the public to act to “improve” the decision, about as clear an example of intimidation as you can get. Senate leader Chuck Schumer said that Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett had lied in their Senate hearings in answering questions on abortion, this on top of his comments two years ago to Gorsuch & Kavanaugh that:

“You will pay the price.. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions”

Sure, you can argue that this is all just typical political hot air – which I could agree with if I hadn’t seen similar, ordinary political speech from the likes of Trump and Sarah Palin (in the Giffords shooting of 2011) held to be “incitement” to violent followers, with the MSM once more helping out by amplifying those claims while memory-holing the likes of Bernie Bro assassin, James T Hodgkinson and his shooting of GOP members of Congress

Moreover, Virginia State law prohibits such protesting against judges precisely because it is understood to be an attempt to intimidate them in making their decisions. Notably nobody has been prosecuted by either the Virginia law authorities or the Federal DOJ.

The cherry on top on is that President Biden, via his press secretary at the time, Jen Pasaki, refused to condemn the protests despite repeated invitations from some reporters to do so; encouragement with a wink from the President.

Finally, there are specific examples arising from the prosecution of violent criminal actions involving allies of the Democrats. The mug shots below are of two people – Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman – who were arrested in New York City in 2020 for assembling Molotov cocktails, handing them out to the “mostly peaceful” crowds protesting George Floyd’s death, and even firebombing an empty police car.

Ginning herself up to distribute explosives to the crowd, Rahman gave a video interview in which she declared, “This shit won’t ever stop until we fuckin’ take it all down,” adding that “the only way [the police] hear us is through violence.”

Domestic terrorism doesn’t get much clearer, no? Many years of jail time resulting?

Not so fast, lynchers:

They reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors in October 2020 that wiped out six of the seven charges against them. Those prosecutors, nonetheless, sought a maximum 10-year sentence and argued that the incident qualified for a so-called terrorism enhancement that would turbocharge sentencing–a determination with which the U.S. Probation Office concurred.

Well, that’s the marginally acceptable; charges are often dropped to focus on the important one. But then Merrick Garland – himself proposed for SCOTUS during Obama’s last year after Justice Scalia died – and the U.S. attorney for New York’s Eastern District, Breon Peace, who’s handling the prosecution, took office and in May, the same career DOJ prosecutors who had argued for that 10-year sentence were back in court withdrawing their plea deal, tossing out the terrorism enhancement entirely and entering a new one that allowed the defendants to cop to the lesser charge of conspiracy:

The new charge carries a five-year maximum sentence, but the prosecutors are urging the judge to go below that, asking for just 18 to 24 months on account of the “history and personal characteristics of the defendants” and the “aberrational nature of the defendants’ conduct.”

Because, you know, Mattis graduated from Princeton and New York University Law School and was an attorney at the white-shoe law firm Pryor Cashman, and Rahman was a public-interest lawyer whose “best friend,” Obama administration intelligence official Salmah Rizvi, guaranteed the $250,000 required to release her on bail.

Law360, which reported on the events, calls the new deal an “unusual step.”

That’s some understatement. Then combine this outcome with the hundreds of Antifa and BLM rioters from 2020 who had all charges dropped (only a handful convicted), Clinton and Democrat Party lawyer Michael Sussman being found not guilty by a jury selected from a 92% Biden voting D.C. pool, the wrist slap given FBI lawyer Clinesmith for falsifying CIA emails and lying to the FISA court, and the general escape from justice of the Obama-Clinton team players on the Russia-Collusion attempted coup.

In the face of all this why should anybody be surprised at either that poll result or Kavanaugh’s would-be assassin. It shows that you’re basically looking at a Democrat Party that not only encourages such violence against Republicans – politicians, activists and voters alike – but strongly signals that you’ll get away with it.

Time to re-visit the possibilities of A second American Civil War and A Civil Break, not a Civil War.

The rule of law – and other fairy stories

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Two stories on this, one from New Zealand and one from the USA, but both related in ways aside from laughing at the law, let alone justice.

First up is the news that our Foreign Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, has been indulging in some good old feather-bedding of relatives that any old-time American city politician would recognise and approve of:

Frankly for me this is a bit of “meh”, and not just because I’m so used to seeing it in American politics. The fact is that Maori and Pasifika whanau have a different attitude towards this sort of thing. If you achieve wealth and power your relatives damned well expect you to take them along for the ride. To do otherwise would be selfish of you. In fact I’d bet that Nanaia was pressured on these matters by her “rellies”.

I did appreciate these comments from Karl du Fresne, where I first read of this a few days ago

Revelations about government jobs and contracts awarded to Mahuta’s family connections first emerged on The Daily Examiner website on May 22, illustrating the point that it’s often online platforms, rather than ethically compromised mainstream media, that break important stories – especially those that show the government in a poor light.

That has increasingly been the case, which is a welcome addition to the likes of blogs merely taking down a reporter and their story for shallow, braindead hopelessness and/or outrageous ideological and partisan bias.

The Platform has since picked up the story and so has Kate MacNamara, a New Zealand Herald reporter who displays a gutsy independent streak that’s all too rare in political journalism – all of which raises questions about how much longer the rest of the MSM can go on pretending there’s nothing to see here.

Yay. However I doubt it will change any fundamental attitudes in the MSM – or in the Labour Government – which will move past this, with the assistance of that MSM. National can scream long and loud about this but they’ll run out of “new” news sooner or later and in any case will be intimidated into silence by a word that still holds magical powers over them, especially when uttered by Maori – “RACIST”.

The second piece of news on this front is that, as I and many other observers suspected would happen, the Clinton and Democrat National Committee lawyer, Michael Sussman, was found not guilty of lying to the FBI by a jury of his peers – which means a jury selected from a Washington D.C. population that voted 92.5% for Biden:

Turley is a long-time Democrat supporter and long-time Liberal law professor and even he can smell the stench, although it’s also a simple matter of attitudes towards such things.

“I don’t think it should have been prosecuted,” the jury forewomen said, according to an account in The Washington Times. “There are bigger things that affect the nation than a possible lie to the FBI”

Bigger than a lie, plus other lies, that launched a $40 million dollar investigation that handicapped a Presidential Administration for two years?

Well of course! The D.C. crowd, undoubtedly including that woman, hated Trump and wanted him and his policies stopped by any means necessary. They’re all of a piece, which is why former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy argues that Durham’s mistake was to assume that the FBI were the dupes, when the evidence of three prosecutions has by now demonstrated that at least the upper levels of the FBI knew very well who Sussman was connected with:

… he’d represented the DNC when its servers were hacked, and blocked the FBI from conducting its own forensic investigation. When Sussmann purveyed supposed evidence of a Trump-Russia communications back channel, the bureau knew full well that it was getting political information from a partisan source. The evidence at trial showed that FBI headquarters concealed Sussmann’s identity from the bureau’s own investigating agents.

Funnily enough Sussman’s own defence team made the same argument in claiming that he didn’t lie, and I think that actually has merit.

The connection between the Mahuta and Sussman-Clinton-FBI stories is that both of them demonstrate how our Western democracies are increasingly coming to seem more like feudal systems. If you know the right people, move in the right Establishment circles, and have the opinions of the Gentry Class – then you can make a lot of money and get away with almost anything.

But all this is also enabled by a public, by voters, that increasingly could not care less about such things, even as those things steadily screw them into the ground. I’ll bet that the number of people paying attention to the Heard-Depp defamation trial outnumbered the Sussman observers by millions to one.

The next Durham trials will be covered even less than this one, and slowly it will all just fade away.

Powerline turns 20

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Powerline was one of the first American political blogs I began to read in the early 2020’s as an alternative to an increasingly awful MSM, and it is still a daily must-read for me.

It’s amazing that the team of bloggers is still going strong after all this time. By necessity the politics and other news that they cover is national, but the fact that two of the writers live in Minnesota has meant that they have been able to use their local contacts, observations and experience to go into depth on two national stories that sprang from their local environs – Democrat House Rep Ilhan Omar, and the George Floyd incident. Their coverage of Minnesota’s state government handling of the Chinese Lung Rot pandemic has also been brilliantly in-depth.

To say that Powerline’s quality of reporting and analysis for both stories vastly exceeds that of the national MSM and their local, hopelessly partisan newspaper, the Minnesota Star Tribune, is to understate things.

You can read the reflections of three of them about their blog’s 20th birthday here, here, and here.

The biggest story the site has done was the 2004 takedown of Dan Rather’s attack on G W Bush, based on fraudulent documents that Rather and his research staff were too stupid to figure out and too partisan to care. It was an analysis that deservedly destroyed his career:

9. We made our contribution in part through readers who got us going with information they emailed on the morning of September 9. It is amazing to me in retrospect that we were able to post the initial updates to “The Sixty-First Minute” based on messages from the few thousand regular readers we had at the time. Other readers came that morning from links that directed them to us. The first significant link to the post, as I recall, was Jim Geraghty’s at National Review Online.

But I was also intrigued by a similar story that two of the writers, John H. Hinderaker and Scott Johnson, had done years earlier in pre-Powerline days:

2. The highlight of our pre-Power Line work was “George Bush’s tax return,” published by National Review in May 1994. The article was an attack on the incredibly shoddy (and influential) work of Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters Donald Barlett and James Steele. My friend Rudy Boschwitz obtained a copy of President Bush’s tax return for us; it was the sine qua non of the article. Rich Lowry edited the piece as managing editor of NR. Rich and his crew at NR placed the article online to help us celebrate our 15th anniversary. Please click on the link and check it out. It provides a case study in the mainstream media’s modus operandi. It would be wrong to say that the press hasn’t changed since then. It is worse than ever.

Sad but true, and the MSM has learned nothing from being regularly schooled on research and analysis by such blogs over the last twenty years.

Written by Tom Hunter

May 30, 2022 at 10:44 am

Posted in MSM, New Zealand, US Politics, USA

Tagged with ,

Jail time for the attempted coup?

with 18 comments

Only minions go to jail in the US political system. I well recall the triumphant online howls of Lefties after Obama’s election in 2008, with visions of Cheney, and perhaps even the evil BushHitler himself, being “perp-walked” in orange jumpsuits. Similarly with Trump supporters on Clinton with “Lock her Up“. Then there’s the endless fantasies of the Left about convicting Trump himself, yet another of which collapsed just the other day.

The Eight Key Russia Collusion Hoaxers TL to BR
Michael Haden, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Susan Rice, Peter Strzok, Fiona Hill, Sally Yates, James Clapper

So it will go for all the assholes shown in this photo, plus many others identified in this Federalist article, who may never even be investigated, which they group as people in: Comey’s FBI, Obama’s DOJ, Obama’s State Department, Democratic National Committee, Clinton Campaign, and Clinton’s opposition research group, Fusion GPS.

Yes, it is that tangled and convoluted, which is yet another reason there will be few consequences. Not enough ordinary people care about what is a bigger scandal and crime than Watergate, because it’s just another complex Washington D.C. scandal they don’t understand – while those who do know, including many outside the USA, don’t care because it helped damage Trump and the implementation of his policies.

The primary criminal investigation is now being led by John Durham, one of the few men in D.C. with a genuine reputation as a straight-shooter, based on his work for both the Bush and Obama administrations investigating the likes of the CIA. He started in 2019 and the going has been so slow that I’d pretty much given up on him catching and convicting anybody. But it turns out that the man does move and in 2022 he’s prosecuting a few people in trials.

Carter Page & Kevin Clinesmith

My cynicism is based on what has already happened to a key, if minor figure in the FBI, who is mentioned in that Federalist article. The story concerns one Carter Page, a Trump campaign aide, who got wire-tapped by the FBI in 2016. By 2018 jokes were being made that Page must be the cleanest man in D.C., for despite all their work there was no sign that the FBI was even going to indict Page, let alone prosecute him, on the basis of dirty work with the Russians, or anything else for that matter. After another year had passed it became clear as to why that was.

Carter Page had actually been working with the CIA. Not unusual; the history of modern spy agencies is that they’ve often used businessmen simply to learn ordinary things that help the spies build a better picture of their frenemies. Thus it’s also standard practice for the FBI Counter-Intelligence group, when they’re about to investigate an American citizen, to contact the CIA and other intelligence agencies to see if they’re using these citizens as a source. The FBI did that in this case and got the confirming email from the CIA.

And then FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith changed it to read the exact opposite, which was then presented to the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Court, together with the infamous fake known as the Steele Dossier, as evidence that Page deserved to be spied on. Incredibly Clinesmith was already serving on the Mueller investigation when he did this – until he got dumped after the revelation of his private texts by the FBI Inspector General’s Report showed an incredible degree of anti-Trump bias. Of course the more famous of these people and their texts was this one between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok:

The IG report said [Lisa] Page texted Strzok in August 2016, after Trump won the GOP presidential nomination, fretting, “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”

Strzok replied, “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,”

Aside from getting canned by the FBI, Strzok and Page suffered no other penalties. After Durham got Clinesmith the government requested a three-to-six month prison sentence but instead the judge sentenced him to community service and imposed no fine. In June 2021 his law license was suspended for just one year, but it was applied retroactively from his guilty plea so he got it back in August 2021.

For lying to not just any court but the FISA court to enable spying on US citizens. Must be nice to be a partisan Democrat working for the FBI, DOJ or the State Department.

But why pick on Clinesmith, Strzok and Page when other parts of the Establishment were just as dirty, right to the top:

The very day in January 2017 that then-FBI Director James Comey signed a FISA surveillance warrant application declaring content from Christopher Steele’s dossier had been “verified,” he wrote President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, that “We are not able to sufficiently corroborate the reporting”

“The FBI filed three renewal applications with the FISC, on January 12, April 7, and June 29, 2017. In addition to repeating the seven significant errors contained in the first FISA application and outlined above, we identified 10 additional significant errors in the three renewal applications,” Horowitz’s Inspector General report said.

The following links are an excellent three part summary of the 400 page, 2019 Horowitz report: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. There are extensive quotes from the report about the problems with both Steele and his “Primary Sub-source” but I’ll stick with summaries from two different articles, starting with Steele…

The FBI had terminated Steele two months earlier for violating the terms of his confidential informant agreement by leaking to the news media. The FBI had also had been warned by the CIA since 2015 that Steele was susceptible to Russian disinformation because he was too involved with oligarchs…the FBI had interviewed in November 2016 one of Steele’s former MI6 bosses, who warned agents that Steele had overstated his seniority during the time he served in British intelligence.

… followed by the details of the “Primary Sub-source”, who should have been investigated before the FISA applications were made:

The FBI also hid all that from the FISA court and even during later testimony before Congress. Comey has no excuses. His FBI knew all this by January 2017. They also fought like hell to prevent then House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes from releasing this in early 2018.

But one big letdown of the Horowitz report was that it treated all this as mere “errors”, and it did not ask why the FBI had failed to investigate a big problem with Steele:

One area the FBI assiduously avoided was Steele’s knowledge that he was working for the Clinton Campaign and his understanding that his research would be publicized and used to affect the 2016 election.  This information, had it been presented, would have been critical to the FISA Court’s ability to evaluate Steele’s bias.

This lack of information or deference means that, first, the IG did not fully establish exactly the relevant chains of command (Comey and McCabe at the FBI; Yates, Boente and Rosenstein at the DOJ); and second, he did not pin down what the players knew and when they knew it.

Some of this information vacuum occurred because several players in the FBI’s crime drama (such as Comey), refused to cooperate with the IG.  What they knew or should have known and when they knew it will be key questions that need to be answered.  Bottom line, the IG’s Report is itself damning, but it is not the final word.

And this is where Durham’s investigation has differed from Horowitz’s: it’s a criminal inquiry. Durham clearly does think that criminal skullduggery occurred across these agencies, and showed his teeth right from the start in 2019 by dissenting from the IG’s view that the Steele dossier “played no role in the Crossfire Hurricane opening”. That link has a concise list of the reasons why Durham does not agree, together with a detailed timeline of how the FBI learned of the dossier and started the investigation, including these two doozies:

  • The FBI’s faith in Steele extended to sharing classified information with him. According to Horowitz, at an October 2016 meeting in Rome, FBI agents gave Steele a “general overview” of Crossfire Hurricane, including its then-secret probes of Manafort, Page, Flynn, and Papadopoulos. The FBI was so eager to enlist Steele that it offered to pay him $15,000 “just for attending” the Rome meeting and a “significantly” greater amount if he could collect more information.
  • Then-senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, whose wife Nellie worked alongside Steele at Fusion GPS, first made contact with Steele right before the former British spy’s meeting with [FBI agent] Gaeta on July 5,

Wheels within fucking wheels in this crowd of husbands, wives and lovers. Pillow talk among honourable people! Trust in people you already knew should not be trusted.

Incidentally, it turns out that Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (whose clearance from charges I covered here), accused by the Clinton campaign, sundry Intelligence Community leakers and the MSM (of course) of getting too close to Russia, starting in 2015 with a dinner with Putin, was operating then as an intelligence source for the USA. In his case for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), who testified to Mueller that Flynn had approached them before the meeting and been de-briefed afterwards. Mueller sat on those affidavits because they weren’t material to his prosecution of Flynn’s 2016 actions as NSA – and also because they would have blown up the Mueller-Clinton narrative. They were only just released the other day after some minor news outfit called JustTheNews extracted them from the government – doing the work the MSM did not want to do. Flynn is now suing the US government for $50 million, and in act of petty revenge they’re suing him for the $40,000 they spent on the 2015 trip.

Igor Danchenko

In November 2021 Durham made public that the “Primary Sub-source” was one Igor Danchenko and indicted him for lying to the FBI. That led to other revelations such as him being investigated in 2009 by the FBI as a possible Russian spy since he was connected to two men they were already investigating as spies.

But, in what would become an alarming theme, the FBI did not follow through and closed the investigation in March 2011, apparently believing that Danchenko had gone back to Russia.

In fact, he had begun working with Steele. Danchenko was introduced to Steele in 2010 by Fiona Hill, another Brookings Russia scholar.

The Brookings Institution is essentially the foreign policy cover organisation for the Clinton Foundation. And Fiona Hill? Where have you heard that name before? Oh right, she was a key witness during Trump’s first impeachment. No bias there. It gets better.

In 2016, she introduced Danchenko to Charles Dolan, a Russia-focused businessman and Democratic Party activist.

Dolan is identified in the indictment as “PR Executive-1” because he helped run a public-relations firm. He is a longtime Clinton insider, having worked on Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns, as well as Hillary’s failed 2008 and 2016 bids. In the interim, he was appointed by President Clinton to a State Department advisory committee. From 2006 until 2014, the Kremlin retained Dolan to be its global public-relations agent. For much of that time, conveniently, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the Obama administration point-person on the “Russia Reset,” in which the State Department promoted Russian economic development.

So far from being “inside Russia” it would be more accurate to say that Danchenko was inside the Clinton orbit. Information from Russian sources was actually from the Clinton campaign, with key player Dolan as – literally – a Kremlin agent. If you read that article (from none other than the Trump-loathing team at National Review) you’ll see that the information flow ran from Dolan to Danchenko to Steele to the FBI.

By the way, Clinton’s opposition research firm FusionGPS was also simultaneously working directly for Vladimir Putin, attempting to drum up media and government support for overturning the US Global Magnitsky Act, which Putin did not like.

And these people had the chutzpah to say Trump was tied to the Russians. There is no better deflection than to accuse your opponent of what you’re doing.

I’ve no doubt that Danchenko will be convicted of lying to the FBI and since he is not a precious worker for any of the three-letter Federal agencies he might see some jail time, but not much.

Michael Sussman

Which brings us to the latest in Durhams work: the prosecution of former Hillary Clinton and Democrat National Commitee (DNC) lawyer, Michael Sussman, for the same crime of lying to the FBI.

In Sussman’s case he approached the FBI directly, claiming that he had damaging information about Trump – specifically that he was colluding with the Russian Alfa Bank via a secret server hotline – and claimed that he was doing so out of his concern as an American citizen – when in fact he was acting as the Clinton campaign lawyer and billing them for the time he spent with the FBI.

That last fact caused some fun when Durham subpoenaed key people from Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign – the DNC, Fusion GPS, and liberal law firm Perkins Coie – and demanded to see all of Sussman’s communications with them. His lawyers claimed attorney-client privilege that meant they would not disclose them, but Durham already had the text messages:

“Jim – it’s Michael Sussmann. I have something time-sensitive (and sensitive) I need to discuss. Do you have availability for a short meeting tomorrow? I’m coming on my own – not on behalf of a client or company – want to help the Bureau. Thanks.”

Durham had painted him into a corner. He got the comms. He’s also got some star witnesses who are singing in the dock, likely to save their own hides.

Former FBI General Counsel James Baker, who Sussman met, testified that he was “100% confident” about the following, which confirmed Sussman’s own text.

Sussmann claimed no client was behind the Alfa-Bank disinfo, a claim represented in a subsequent meeting with “Bill Priestap, who was the assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, and Trisha Anderson, the FBI’s deputy general counsel, right after his Sussmann meeting.” Both wrote down that there was no connection to a client in their meeting notes.

In other words, not just a dumb process lie (like “lying” about the date of a meeting) but a material lie; one that directly affected the FBI investigation of Trump and his team.

Then it was the turn of longtime Clinton lawyer, Mark Elias:

Sussmann’s partner at the time, also testified that they were representing the Clinton team and had hired the Fusion GPS to help dig up dirt on the Trump team. Durham also got in other records during Elias’ testimony showing that they were meeting on the Alfa Bank, and Elias said that he considered his work with Sussmann and Joffe to be part of his Clinton campaign work.

Durham then played a crucial card by getting the testimony of two former CIA agents who testified that Sussman had told the same lies to them, which shows a pattern of deliberate lying.

Then, last Friday, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook directly implicated Hillary Clinton herself by testifying that she approved the plan to spread the lie. Some people, like Liberal Democrat law professor Jonathan Turley, seem to think this is a big deal, and perhaps if the MSM put it on the front-pages (Yes, yes, I know) it might become a big deal for the general public. But as the boys at Powerline point out, if you didn’t follow the MSM then you already knew about this ages ago:

More broadly, we have long known that Hillary personally directed the Russia collusion hoax. Indeed, the Obama administration knew this virtually from the hoax’s inception. We wrote about this a year and a half ago, based on handwritten notes by John Brennan, then CIA Director, dated July 28,2016.

According to these documents, Hillary approved the plan to smear Donald Trump with the Russia collusion hoax on July 26, 2016. (The Fusion GPS/Christopher Steele “dossier” fabrication was under way by this time.) Her action was immediately picked up by Russian intelligence. At almost the same time, U.S. intelligence, spying on the Russians, got the story. On July 28, just two days after Hillary allegedly green-lighted the smear, Barack Obama, James Comey, Susan Rice and Denis McDonough assembled to be briefed by John Brennan on the situation.

Hillary Clinton – and friends

Closer and closer Durham comes to the heart of the scandal. I think Sussman is a dead duck, but even in his case there is a glimmer of hope in that it’s a jury trial set in Washington D.C where 92% of voters went for Biden in 2020:

Many of the members of the broader jury pool, as well as some selected for the jury itself, expressed strong disdain for former President Donald Trump and/or support for Clinton. Most said they hadn’t heard of the Sussmann case until the judge told them about it last week.

“I remembered that the 2016 election was kind of a mess and that there were a lot of shenanigans,” one of the selected jurors told the court.

Heh. A perfect example of the general public and this entire scandal. Maybe that sort of ignorance will help the prosecution: maybe it will help the defence. Sussman has probably bet on the latter, otherwise he’d have pled guilty by now in the face of all this evidence.

But as I said at the start of this post, I can’t believe that any of these senior people will ever suffer any legal penalties for all this, especially Hillary Clinton. A lot of minor figures in the Clintons world have gone to jail over the years, all the way back to the Whitewater scandal, but never the main players. As just one current example, Hillary’s original Tweet about the Alfa Bank mentions one Jake Sullivan releasing the statement as the Hillary for America Senior Policy Advisor: Sullivan is now Biden’s National Security Adviser FFS. As professor Turley says:

Hillary Clinton has always had a sort of Voldemort-like status of she who must not be named in a scandal. The Clintons have really been able to avoid direct responsibility in a series of scandals. And here was her campaign manager effectively dropping the dime on his former boss and saying, “Look, she approved it. She knew about it.”

But the thing to keep in mind is that President Obama was briefed when he was president, that Hillary Clinton was planning to make a Russian collusion claim against Donald Trump to try to sort of get out of her own email issues during the campaign.

And we now have someone saying, “Yeah, she green-lighted the Alfa Bank claims,” which were completely without foundation. The Clintons are really quite adept at avoiding direct responsibility on some of these scandals, and I expect that will be the case here.

With the exception of false statements made to federal investigators, there’s not a lot that can be brought for charges against a wide array of individuals.

UPDATE:

Courtesy of RealClearPolitics:

The Sussmann trial indicates how the media and federal agencies play into the Democrats’ scandal-industrial process. Take Mook’s testimony last Friday. It was a huge story because, for the first time, a Clinton insider directly tied Hillary to the smear campaign. That campaign was the biggest political dirty trick in modern American politics, one the media had actively promoted. Yet, when the bombshell exploded, the mainstream media went silent, both about the news and about their own culpability. On Friday, when the news broke, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC did not mention the Mook bombshell or even the Sussmann trial. Not a peep. Saturday’s New York Times was equally silent. The Washington Post did cover the story but buried the lede – Hillary Clinton’s direct involvement – well down in their report. A Post national correspondent actually ran an “analysis” piece entitled “Again: There’s No Evidence Hillary Clinton Triggered the Russian Probe.”

Written by Tom Hunter

May 23, 2022 at 6:00 am